Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Shadowrun Beginner Box Dossier and Release Info!

Do you have the Shadowrun, Sixth World Beginner Box Set? Do you want a preview at how characters in that ruleset will look? Do you just want free Shadowrun stuff? There’s no wrong reason to download the character dossier for Emu, the human rigger! It’s now available! 

And it’s a great time to share Beginner Box material with you, because the box itself is nearing release. The official street date is July 10–two weeks from now—but you might want to pay attention to your friendly local game store, because some copies might show up in advance of that. So if you want your first look at the next edition of one of gaming’s greatest settings, keep your eyes open!

Of course, the Beginner Box is the first step of the journey to the release of the full Shadowrun, Sixth World core rulebook, which will go on sale August 1 at Gen Con. We’ll be counting down until that week with more blog posts and information about that book, including the following:

July 3: Magic in SR6

July 10: Combat in SR6

July 17: Matrix in SR6

July 24: How to describe 30 years of Shadowrun history

July 31: Gen Con preview!

We look forward to sharing more about this edition of Shadowrun, and we’re especially excited to get people playing!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Recap: Shadowrun at Origins 2019

Convention weeks are exhausting, but also a good reminder why we love them. Origins and Gen Con are often the first time I get to see physical copies of Shadowrun stuff, and it’s always exciting to open boxes—it’s Christmas in June!

I had already seen a physical copy of the Shadowrun, Sixth World Beginner Box, but this show gave me my first chance to hold the Neo-Anarchist Streetpedia, No Future, and our dice and Edge tokens set. Our art and design people rocked it—they are all beautiful! But in particular I want to share the cover of No Future, with its AR slipcover and gritty reality main cover. Echo Chernik is one of our favorite artists for a reason, and she made a gorgeous, striking image.

The star of the show, of course, was the Beginner Box. The response was tremendous, and we sold more of them than any Shadowrun RPG item at Origins in the past ten years (and possibly longer, but ten years is as far as my personal memory goes). Having lots of boxes to sell means I get to experiment with different stacking styles—this was my beginning-of-day-four stack. It was much smaller at day’s end!

Shadowrun art was everywhere at the show. Our booth featured a large banner with the cover art from the Shadowrun, Sixth World core rulebook.

A staircase leading to the convention hall featured a rogues’ gallery of Sixth World characters, set on a stunning city backdrop.

And the gaming room was easy to find, thanks to this long banner calling attention to it.

And that gaming room was busy! Our demo agents, as always, went above and beyond to give as many gamers as possible a great gaming experience, and more than 1,100 players sat at the tables in the room. We love the enthusiasm for Shadowrun we see at Origins, and we love our demo agents. (And if you’re interested in joining one of the best teams in gaming, send an inquiry to the Catalyst Demo Team Facebook page. We’re looking for a few good people for Gen Con!)

And, of course, this is only part of the overall experience. Talking to friends, teaching people how to play different games, learning new games, rolling lots of dice, seeing how many dice I can fit into our new dice bags, and making unending strings of jokes that are pretty much just funny to me—that’s what a con’s about! And all you great Shadowrun people helped make this one especially memorable!

Now back to working on that character dossier we promise you for Emu the rigger!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Q&A with Shadowrun Line Developer Jason Hardy

Welcome to this week’s Shadowrun, Sixth World update! For this week’s post, we’ve scoured various internet outposts to find some common questions about Sixth World, and asked Jason Hardy, Shadowrun line developer, to answer.

Is Sixth World an attempt to simply fix the problems that some saw in Fifth Edition, or is it more of a ground-up re-envisioning of the Shadowrun game as a whole?

Definitely closer to the latter. I wouldn’t say it’s a total re-envisioning—we still have dice pools of D6s, we have the same attributes, and many aspects are the same as previous editions. But we did not want to simply tweak or adjust Fifth Edition–we wanted this to be a whole new edition, with new concepts and a different feel. We also wanted to streamline the game—which is the subject of the next question!

In streamlining the Sixth World rules, did the developers take any cues from other game systems and their recent editions on what to do or not do?

Short answer: Yes. Longer answer: I play games a lot, so I’m always looking at lessons to learn from other games. In particular, I looked at a lot of ways of making adjustment to dice and dice pools, to see how the math on each of those work out. Adjusting threshold numbers, adding more dice, adding +1 to a die, re-rolling a die—all of those have different effects, and knowing what those effects are was important in designing the game (I have a lovely spreadsheet with fun stats!).

I also looked at one element crucial to role-playing games, and that is giving a range of characters meaningful choices. Without going into details, I’ve seen games that do a great job of it, and I’ve seen games where some types of characters seem to only be able to choose from a small range of actions, so they end up picking between one or two alternatives most of the time. We tried to emulate the former!

Who did the developers turn to for input on revising the rules for Sixth World? How was the system playtested and what tweaks were made as a result?

Lots of people! The initial phase of development was more of a reaching-out phase—we spoke with people who weren’t in the trenches of day-to-day Shadowrun work to get their thoughts on different ways Shadowrun could reinvent itself, so that we could get fresh ideas. We also reached out to freelancers working on Shadowrun, especially those with lots of in-the-trenches gaming experience.

Playtesting went through several phases (fun fact: the core playtest document was updated and re-circulated 12 different times during the playtest process). Throughout the process, I ran games with a variety of people—Catalyst staff, experienced Shadowrun players, and people new to Shadowrun. The freelancers working on Shadowrun ran several playtests as we were in the early stages of forming the main structure of the game.

Once we had a basic structure in place, the playtest broadened. We have a large group of non-staff, non-freelancer playtesters we use for a lot of different games, and many of them stepped in to run games. This gave us the perspective of people coming to the ruleset with fresh eyes, having not been involved in any of the early development of this game or in any writing of SR5 rules.

The changes from this process are numerous. A few examples:

* The very first set of playtest rules had a lot of what is now part of the Edge in a separate sub-system. Playtesters thought it would be good to combine all the systems into Edge. That was a good idea.

* There were many playtest ideas on ways to reconfigure skills to make them easier to handle while also providing ways to make a range of characters. The Specialization and Expertise system came out of that.

* Early playtest documents focused on the Combat uses of Edge. The intention was always to expand it, but that was given special urgency by playtesters emphasizing that Edge needed to be woven into multiple areas of gameplay.

* Playtesting is also good for making small tweaks—damage values, Karma costs of qualities, drain values of spells, and more were adjusted in playtesting.

How long will it take for the various sourcebooks for all the character classes to come out? Will I have to “downgrade” my character to what’s available in the core rules until those books are available?

The combat sourcebook will come out by the end of this year. As with Fifth Edition, the other core books will then come out regularly as they are developed and written. We will have a character conversion guide that will help with bringing a character into the new edition, but we simply cannot put put rules that covered more than 2,000 pages in Fifth Edition in a single burst, especially since the last books developed for Fifth Edition haven’t come out yet, so I was working on them while also working on Sixth World. Getting all the core books out in a single year would require at least a year where I wasn’t working on anything else, and that’s not something I can do!

When will Missions change over to using Sixth World rules, and will my character have to be reset to use only what’s in the core book?

If all works the way we have planned, the first Neo-Tokyo Missions will be dual-statted for both Fifth Edition and Sixth World. We hope those will start flowing out this fall. That means you should have at least half a year before having to make the conversion to Sixth World to play Missions. If the dual-statting goes smoothly, we can explore extending it.

Have you made any changes to riggers, their rules, or how they’re incorporated in runs? Will rules for riggers come earlier in the release schedule than in the past?

Yes. Vehicle stats are greatly changed—in some ways, they’re one of the ways the rules became a bit more complicated, if only so vehicle movement could be tracked without the abstracted chase rules of previous editions. Matrix rules have been changed, so with them rigging rules have been adjusted, though that level of detail is beyond the scope of this post! Between drone rigging, vehicle operation, and taking over other vehicles and drones, riggers should find plenty to do.

The timing for the rigger book and other books has not been decided yet, though I’ll just take this opportunity to point out that Rigger 5.0 came out more than three years ago, less than halfway through the Fifth Edition cycle!

What would you say to those who are concerned about the reduced number of Skills in Sixth World?

First, the goal of specializations and expertise is to give players a way to differentiate characters with this smaller skill set. I hope that will be useful and give characters their own feel. Second, if, in the end, you prefer the longer skill list of previous editions to the list in Sixth World, that’s okay. I long ago came to grips with the fact that no single edition of Shadowrun will be everything to everyone. Everyone will like the things they like, and I just hope Sixth World provides rules and tools a substantial group of players can use to have fun!

Can you talk a little more about Edge, and why Sixth Edition changes how it is used?

The process of how Edge evolved is the longest, most detailed process in the whole game. So I’ll try to make a long story short! Ish. So, the first thing I focused on when it came time to move past brainstorming and put rules to paper was combat. I wanted the whole combat process to move smoother and for combat to resolve faster. I saw a lot of things to tweak the process, but in the end, many of them boiled down to one thing: It takes a long time to calculate dice pools. Modifiers can come from a lot of places, and remembering to look at all these places, while also remembering the size of the modifiers, can be complex. I wanted to streamline that whole process. The first step in that was combining a lot of weapon stats into a single number called Attack Rating. That number is compared to a Target’s Defense Rating, and, in the initial system, if your Attack Rating was sufficiently higher than the Defense Rating, you’d get what was called a Chip, which would represent your accumulated advantage in the fight. The idea was that other things, such as good tactical execution, would give you more Chips. Then playtesting showed us that the Chip system had similarities with Edge, and things would work best if Edge was expanded, rather than introducing a new meta-game currency. Once that merger was in place, the work was to find how to implement Edge across the system. So deckers, faces, riggers, technomancers, and whoever else hits the shadows gets a chance to build up Edge and spend it in a spectacular move.

How did you balance the need to streamline the core rules against the complexity and detail that many Shadowrun players enjoy?

That was a tough one! In the end, I think it’s about making a good framework for the game. The basics of Shadowrun are simple—find a skill for the action you’re going to attempt, add ranks in that skill to ranks in an associated attribute, roll that many D6s, and count how many 5s and 6s you get. You’re either trying to beat a threshold established by the gamemaster or the number of hits from another character. That part isn’t hard to master. The complications come with all the attachments, which means that in the end, it’s about not overloading the core system with attachments. The way Edge works in Sixth World gives players plenty of opportunities for their choices to have and effect in the game while making it easier to determine what that effect is.

Why should an established Shadowrun player pick up Sixth World?

For the adventure and challenge! Game rules offer structure and limits, with the players seeing what cool things they can pull off within that structure. Just like designing a new character, new rules give you a chance to see what you can make happen with new trappings. In Sixth World, combat should move faster, and your opportunities to do spectacular things should come about more frequently. You also might have an easier time getting people who found the longer Fifth Edition book too daunting into the game!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Shop Shadowrun on Black Friday, Small-Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, or whenever!

Are you shopping for the holidays? For others or for yourself? Or just shopping in general? Well, there’s Shadowrun goodness waiting for you! First, the latest Deep Shadows sourcebook, Better than Bad (Catalyst shop, Drivethru), just came out! Here’s the rundown:

Righteous Fire

Kill or be killed. Eye for an eye. Get yours while you can. Shadowrunners—and most of the other residents of the Sixth World—are told from birth that those are the principles you must follow to survive. Thinking of others is for suckers. Take care of your own and hope you don’t die early.

But some runners think that’s no way to live. They know the world is stacked against them, and they’ve decided they like those odds. They choose to fight for what they think is right. They use shadowruns to take from people who don’t deserve what they have and give to those who need it. They seek hidden information that can right wrongs. It’s not easy, and it doesn’t always pay as well as outright theft, but who do they tell stories about centuries later—Robin Hood, or the jerk thief from a few forests away who only thought of himself?

Better than Bad is a shadowrunners’ guide to hooding, the art of committing crime to help those in need. With plot information, shadowrunning techniques and tactics, and advice to help runners work to bring good into the world, the book is the first definitive guide to shadowrunning with a conscience. It also includes information on a hot spot for working to right wrongs—Pretoria, in the African nation of Azania

Better than Bad is for use with Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, and most of the material can also be used with Shadowrun: Anarchy.

Also, don’t miss the recently released follow up to Shadows in Focus: MoroccoShadows in Focus: Casablanca-Rabat (Catalyst shop, Drivethru). Here’s what it has!

Devils in the White City

Casablanca-Rabat is a sprawl with millions of secrets and a willingness—an eagerness, even—to sell them. That means there is plenty of work for shadowrunners, but also a need for care, since revealing the wrong secret at the wrong time can lead to disaster. So get to know the city, get to know the culture, and learn how to play the game. Then take your running to the next level in one of the most vital sprawls of the Sixth World.

Shadows in Focus: Casablanca-Rabat follows Shadows in Focus: Morocco to fill in details of Africa’s northwestern shore, and you can either use both books to build in-game knowledge or focus on this one to help you launch shadowruns in a sprawl with a deep history of intrigue.<o:p></o:p>

Shadows in Focus: Casablanca-Rabat has rules for Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, along with world-building that can be used in both Shadowrun, Fifth Edition and Shadowrun: Anarchy.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
  • Shadowrun Tabletop
  • Shadowrun Fiction
  • Quick-Start Rules
  • Shadowrun Media Kit